Bliss.

Everything is better when you’re on vacation. obviously.

The sun shines brighter.
Food tastes yummier.
Even the dreariest days are just an invitation to curl up and breathe in some stolen moments.

I’m heading back to work in the morning after 10 extraordinary days filled with intimate acoustic shows in coffee shops, fits of giggles on my deck with lifetime friends, piles of books, bike ride dates, dreamy afternoon naps, kayaks, heart pressing hugs, a meditation retreat, family reunions and so much love.

I am currently so blissed out that nothing can faze me nor prepare me for my return to reality in the morning (mere hours away).

I’m wearing a special blend of denial and a sweet conviction that I can keep this feeling alive in a world of alarm clocks, deadlines, meetings and meal-planning.

A close friend and I used to describe this feeling as a vacation high and when we would return to work (typically after exotic getaways), we would rally together to help each other keep it as long as possible. #VacationHighForever

This time, I’m lucky. I only have to keep the high for 2.5 days at work and then I’m off again on a first ever blended-family camping trip for a week!! (Now there’s an adventure – stay tuned!)

But really, aside from the obvious… what is stopping us from keeping (at least a portion of) vacation bliss all the time?

This break in routine has really shaken something loose in me. Or rather, it’s confirmed and emphasized the importance of leading with my heart.

No matter what is happening around me, I need to take time to pause and listen. If the vibration is out of synch with my natural rhythm, it’s best to move on to option B (or C, or D, or T).

Life is not a competition. It’s not about who can win more, earn more or do more. It’s also not about being able to do whatever I want and have everything work out perfectly (because trust me, that did not happen on vacation either).

It’s about knowing that there is an abundance of love and beauty for everyone. And accepting it with an open heart.
It’s about keeping my actions in line with my priorities.
It’s about holding space for others, without the ownership of being responsible for them.
It’s about waking up every morning with a heart full of gratitude.

Because at the end of the day (work day, vacation day, retirement day, Saturday..) it just keeps coming back to love.

So, find love. Find beauty. Find bliss. Accept them into your heart and express your gratitude daily. Keep your high as long as you possibly can.

But don’t forget to set your alarm clock!

xo,
e

#TeamAdventurers

Twitter: @pixiepaperdoll7
Instagram: @pixiepaperdoll

Freedom 39

Today was my last day of work (at the organization we’ll call, E**) where I have supported kids with physical and developmental disabilities and their families for the past 13 years.  It was also Rain’s Grad 5 graduation, which turned out to be way more emotional than I had anticipated (so proud of that lil dude and damn his dad have been proud of him too). Needless to say it was an emotional roller coaster day but I am so happy and so ready for this new adventure that waits for us in Peterborough.  Keith – we are making progress !! Here is the good-bye email I sent my friends/colleagues.. So surreal:

Thirteen years at the same organization. Wow. And here I thought I had commitment issues. I did not anticipate staying here for 13 years nor did I expect to make some of my greatest and most truly phenomenal friends imaginable yet, here we are.  And I wouldn’t change a thing.

Not only have I witnessed a lot of changes within E**, but this organization has also seen a lot of changes with me.  It was there during the purchase my first house, the birth of both of my kids, the survival a separation, and provided me comfort during the sudden death of Rain and Moxie’s dad. And now as I start this new exciting adventure in Peterborough with an evolving heart and family, it’s time to reflect on how far we have come.

Throughout the years, I have been employed in various roles, shuffled between most of our sites and worked with a variety of equally amazing teams. But through all the changes, E** has always felt like my second home; and I think I have spent just as much time cleaning up dishes in that kitchen as I have my own. (Although I have learned to bring my own cutlery because scavenging to find forks for soups and spoons for salad just didn’t cut it after a while – The other day I was had to choose between eating my yogurt with a butter knife or an ice cream scoop).  Ps. I’ve recently discovered the secret stash of bowls. (SCORE!!) and I’m open to bribes for the hidden location.

When I first started my journey here, I was determined to make a difference (in some epic fashion) – I wanted to change the world and solve everyone’s problems (talk about a heavy load). I also really wanted to prove how much I knew and how smart I was.  However, it turned out that the people I wanted to prove my brains to and solve problems for ended up being the very ones who taught me how to be a better person.  And then somewhere along the road that desire to fix, became a desire to simply help.  Genuinely.  From the depths of my heart. And within all the constraints that exist within a large organization. Nothing epic. Just help.

I’ll leave you with three small reminders that I have learned along the way (again, nothing epic; just reminders):

1.      One person can make a difference (even if it’s not the difference you had intended on making)

2.      Don’t judge upon appearance.  This is nothing new but made even more clear as I met these resilient kids and their families.  Some of the most frail by appearances can be the most stubborn determined fighters that you will ever meet.  And some that appear to be the strongest might just spend an hour sobbing in your office.  Please take that hour. Give your shoulder. And refer to point #1.

3.      Don’t take your job so seriously. Remember to laugh. Remember that we’re supporting kids. Have some fun. If at all possible, come to the Drop In or the Teen Dance, (you will quickly be reminded of the drama which is high school) And oh yes, Drama – come to the drama production or a music show and watch our clients radiate on a stage as an entire audience cheers them on.

I am incredibly honoured to have had the opportunity to work with you.  All of you. Thanks for all you have taught me. Thanks for all you do.

xo

Erica

#TeamAdventurers

@pixiepaperdoll7